My traveller’s log
Flaine welcomes you this summer from July 1st to August 27th 2023. More information.
Book your stay
Book your stay

Architectural and artistic heritage

Art, architecture & history of Flaine's resort

A listed resort that’s uncategorisable! Mixing art, design and architecture, Flaine is a an open-air modern art museum! Make sure you take the time to discover this wonderful resort’s rich history!

The legend of Flaine

Legend has it that a giant came walking in our mountains, using the valley formerly known as “Flainoz” (Savoyard word for pillow) as a pillow when he needed to rest…

That is as far as the legend goes, lost with the giant’s dreams.

Flainoz became Flainaz, and then Flaine.

Flaine's history

Flaine, where Man, Art and the Mountains come together

The site was discovered in 1959 by the geophysicist Eric Boissonnas and the Swiss architect Gérard Chervaz, who then made the bet to create an example of urban planning, contemporary architecture and design, and for which immediate profitability would be subject to esthetic choices and respect for the environment.

The architect... Marcel Breuer

To design the resort, Éric and Sylvie Boissonnas, art patrons of the 20th century who loved both modern art and classical music, joined forces with Bauhaus master Marcel Breuer, known for a number of prestigious creations: the Unesco Headquarters in Paris, the Whitney Museum in New-York, as well as his furniture designs, including the «Wassily» tubular chair.

eric et sylvie boissonnas

Forward-thinking with your comfort in mind

Marcel Breuer used his imagination, as well as the best and most innovative techniques of the time:

  • Technical tunnel network : not a single electric cable is visible from the exterior;
  • Installation of a  cable television network showing Flaine television programmes from  1981 to 1986.
  • Snow making facilities guaranteeing artificial snow cover from 1973 (the first in Europe).
  • Cable car and gondola lift stations on the same level as the ski runs.
  • "Car-free" resort centre with exterior links between the different levels of the resort.
  • A non-polluting gas heating plant (the first one in the mountains).

Functional and integrated

Right from the early design stages, Éric Boissonnas and Marcel Breuer were determined to respect nature. They were careful not to disturb the natural surroundings and to integrate the resort into the mountains. In doing so, the general layout was able to blend in with the environment’s contours, and the different resort levels cannot be seen from one to the other. 

The ski area was designed by Emile Allais

Emile Allais, who was the first French skiing world champion, first French alpine skiing Olympic medallist, first qualified ski instructor… In the 1960’s, he put his experience to good use by designing Flaine’s ski runs.

Art, history and design flyer

Art & Architecture in Flaine

A prestigious architectural heritage

The resort’s architectural forefathers, the emblematic «Le Flaine» hotel, with its sun terrace overlooking the precipice, and the «Bételgeuse» building were inagurated in 1969 and listed in the French Historical Monuments Survey in 1991.

The ecumenical chapel is listed on French Historical Monuments since December 2014.

Marcel Breuer’s Flaine was awarded the «Architectural Heritage of the 20th century» label by the Ministry of Culture in 2008.


« The architecture of Flaine is an exemple of the application of the principe of shadow and light that i have adopted. The building facades are cut like diamond points.

The sunlight strikes thier facets from differents angles, their reflections producing contrasts in lighting. »
Marcel Breuer

tête de femme picasso
"Les Trois Hexagones " de Victor Vasarely

An open-air museum

Flaine is home to an exceptional array of art and architecture, thanks to its creators, Éric and Sylvie Boissonnas.

The resort boasts a wealth of monumental works of art "Le Boqueteau" by Jean Dubuffet, "La Tête de Femme" by Pablo Picasso and "Les Trois Hexagones" Victor Vasarely.
The Auditorium is home to a Pol Bury fountain.

Art Centre

Sylvie Boissonnas created the "Centre d’Art de Flaine" right from the resort’s early days, where contemporary art exhibitions could be held. Today, this cultural and recreational area open to all, comprises:

  • An exhibition gallery presenting contemporary artists.
  • A bilingual library (French and English), with a children’s section and reading areas. Novels, crime novels, cartoon books, kids albums, art books…
  • Video area with projections of films about Flaine’s history, its works of art, interviews with artists… available on request.
  •  Multimedia area with computer.

Open from Sunday to Friday, from 4pm to 7pm

Guided visit of the resort

Flaine’s Art Centre offers you the chance to discover Flaine as you have never seen it before. Take a walk to discover the history of the resort and its creators, Éric and Sylvie Boissonnas; understand and appreciate Marcel Breuer’s architecture; see modern works of art by Picasso, Dubuffet, Vasarely and Bury up close.

Weekly visit free of charge. Please sign up beforehand. Meet at the Art Centre.

Discover through this film (15min), the creation of Flaine: